I've been looking to replace a 2013 15" rMBP and nothing else fits the bill. I can get a T560 with a low-power dual core CPU that weighs almost a pound more when you configure it with a battery as big as the one in the MBP. Or I can get an XPS 15 where you can either get a Retina display or 10 hours of battery life, but not both.
Surface Book comes close but it's only 13". And Microsoft had a ton of execution problems with power management and sleep. Apparently building a good laptop is really hard. Even Apple seems to have fucked up power management and GPU integration in the latest MBP.
After the MBP unveiling I spent a good few hours researching alternatives, for the first time since I moved to Apple about 10 years ago. Despite the fact that I found a number of options multiple hundreds of euros cheaper than the new MBP for similar or better 'specs', I still ended up with some kind of MacBook as the best option.
For the first time I feel 'held hostage' by Apple, except that I can't really blame them for the lack of quality elsewhere. I can't help but feel a bit silly about being angry at Apple for selling their products at a price point that is acceptable to me (barely), even though that strikes me as exactly the thing a company should be doing...
Both with wifi and I'm usually running CLion or PyCharm while also browsing the web (Firefox/Chrome). All you need to do is install TLP.
Thinkpads are also the only reasonable computer I've found with a docking feature. My thinkpad is now also my main desktop.
Some peopel just use workspaces. I just remember where I put things.
Shit, seriously? Do you have a cite for this? 'Cause that's wild.
a. Its built like a tank
b. It doesnt offer either a dgpu or a high resolution screen. For me this is a positive. On every recent laptop I have tried I have come to regret a high dpi screen or a discrete gpu since both those things compromise on battery and thermals extensively. Giving up on these two features means you win a lot back in terms of real world comfort. This includes my 2013 Mac Pro with the Nvidia card - the thermals / battery life on that are iffy. Apple does better than other vendors at extracting battery life out of a discrete GPU but that is not saying much.
c. I own some Intel 750 nvme drives on my desktop. For all the work I do I dont see a measurable improvement when I am using those over the sata drive that comes with the T460.
d. I do admit that over time I have begun to lean into the less is more philosophy when it comes to hardware.
e. Getting 15 hours of real world battery and then hot swapping the external to get 9 / 10 more really changes the way I use this thing.
This is only the second machine I have owned where I am tempted to order a second machine to stash away for future use.
But less so than a T450s. Lenovo inexplicably limited the top-of-the-line magnesium shell to the slim-and-light 460s which has a non-replacable battery.
> high resolution screen.
That's a deal breaker for me. I'm not going back to reading text through a low-res screen. My 2013 rMBP 15" manages to get a solid 8-10 hours despite the retina display. PC manufacturers can't execute that because they're all jumping on the "4k" bandwagon, and there is no power-efficient 4k display on the market right now.
I liked the idea of a touch screen and a believable stylus input - got a Surface Book with the dGPU - pretty happy.
But yeah it's 13'
(scroll down to see the $2000 model)
@rayiner: All the new 15" MBPs have a dedicated GPU.
@lhl: This is not true,
Just today I went out at around 12 PM, worked non-stop in a nice cafe' until around 4:30 PM, went to buy some stuff, worked for 2 more hours, came back and realized I still had 30% left. That's insane (I'm using multiple VMs, IDEs, Chrome etc.). Especially considering that I feel the upgrade to Sierra has decreased battery life considerably.
Now, THAT's what you want from a laptop. Good performance, great materials and not having to panic if you forget the charger at home.
Apple's customer care and global warranty are universally known. They will even replace your battery for free (under warranty or Apple care) if its capacity goes below 80% (http://www.apple.com/batteries/service-and-recycling/).
(MBP early 2015 with 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD)
Note: I'm not an Apple fanboy (my phone is Android, never owned an iPhone) but when a product is great you just have to admit it.
My iPhone's lightning cable failed on my, and they needed SEVEN DAYS to check it before I could get a replacement.
I the meantime, I had no choice but to buy a second one to use during that week (I'm now stuck with two cables). If you consider how expensive they are (and I've no use for two!), it can't really get much worse than that.
Lightning to USB-[AC] 1 m for $19? Granted, it's $20. It can't really get much worse than that sounds like hyperbole though, if the phone was in your budget.
They ended up giving me a new one after checking that it was, indeed, faulty.
> [...] if the phone was in your budget
The phone was in my budget. Extra cables were not. Why would you assume that because I can afford a smartphone, I just have money lying around?
I find as soon as VMs are involved the battery life is awful.
I want: 16GB, no touch bar, good keyboard, retina screen. I want a stripped down OS X, there are so many processes on El Capitain that just take up memory, distract me, and clutter my screen. I want zfs, not apfs.
I do not want to lose weekends trying to get the webcam or the fans working in Ubuntu. I'll miss homebrew if I use Ubuntu.
I feel like a person with no country. Somebody please pick up the torch that Apple dropped and make a laptop for developers.
You'll prefer homebrew over aptitude...? I assumed the draw of Linux over OSX was proper package management.
Sierra is the latest OSX release (so not sure why you are talking about El Capitan). Apple deliberately broke up the OS into a lot of smaller processes to help with scheduling and isolation. It's a good thing. And given they are background daemons not sure how they would clutter your screen or distract you. As for ZFS you can use OpenZFS.
And Ubutnu has APT which is what Homebrew was based on so it should more than meet your needs. And as for drivers I've never heard of a situation where fans weren't working in Ubuntu.
There was even an apt-get made for the Mac -- fink. Homebrew crushed it. And now there are projects brining homebrew back over to linux.
Also, a large part of what's great about the mac and homebrew is there's just one target -- it's, "oh shit, now we've all got to make our stuff work on Sierra". And there's a brief period of breakage, and then everything works.
On linux, there is no one fixed target, and the breakage is constant.
Apple literally sells this configuration
First of all, that's a big assumption. Second of all, even if it is true, it doesn't matter for the machine that you buy right now. It seems that people are mostly outraged that a laptop without F keys exists at all. Because even within the Apple line, people are not forced to buy laptops without F keys.
UI-lag is annoying and inexcusable, very un-Apple like.
Why? Why does a future device, one that hasn't been announced, released, or even built yet, one that will be at least a year away and won't actually obsolete anything you currently have, why would that have any impact on your purchase today?
It's not like Apple will stop supporting it when/if the line is discontinued, as long as you have Apple Care, you're covered. They just stopped manufacturing parts for the iPhone 4 recently. Why should the future of the model line matter to the current model?
I fully expect that some day Toyota will stop making my car. But I'm perfectly happy driving it anyway, because it's still being made today, and it was made when I bought it. Does that make sense? Because saying "The Corolla will stop being made some day in the future, so I'm going to buy a Camaro now" doesn't make any sense at all to me.
I think that the Touch Bar exists only and one-hundred-percent because Apple doesn't want to hurt the iPad. It doesn't even theoretically offer improvements over an on-screen toolbar with touch capability.
That would be a radical departure for Apple. They're always cannibalizing their own product lines.
Apple is very open about why they don't think a touch screen makes sense for Mac. They absolutely could change direction but as many others have pointed out, the PC form factor is slowly dying, so why would they?
(I'm not even saying they should have one. I don't care either way. Just that the Touch Bar is not a good replacement.)
Personally, I'm upset enough that they no longer have a matte-screen option. To take away the optical coating so it could be a touch screen might be sufficient to drive me to another laptop. I hate glare, and the trackpad works fine for me; I have no interest in a touch screen.
As another vim user, it's probably better to get in the habit of using Ctrl-[ or Ctrl-C (though Ctrl-C has caveats in certain situations).
No because touchscreen makes zero sense for Apple.
OSX is simply unusable with a touchscreen. And we know this because you can remote desktop from an iPad and try it yourself. At some point when Apple has (a) built a unified iOS/OSX UIKit so developers are forced to auto scale their apps and (b) rewritten OSX to use it and (c) convinced enough developers to use it then it is a possibility. But that is years away.
I can very much see Apple bringing the iPad Pro's pencil to OSX however.
The Pencil would be the only thing they could do to a standard, no-Touch-Bar-thank-you-very-much MBP that would make me stay with Apple, because I digitally draw and paint a lot. I currently have a DisplayLink-driven USB3 display tablet with a stylus for exactly that reason (and, as with everything else on an iPad, an iPad doesn't begin to replace it because it can't run Photoshop). I'd love it if they went that route. I doubt they will, though, because--well, I think they care about the iPad way more than they do about the Mac.
>I want a stripped down OS X, there are so many processes on El Capitain that just take up memory, distract me, and clutter my screen. I want zfs, not apfs.
I've lost so much time to wrangling with OS X to get it to behave the way I want, to get it to do things that would be trivial if I were running Linux. The two biggest reasons I've stuck with Apple are hardware build quality and the fact that Adobe CC is not available for Linux.
>Apple literally sells this configuration
The new macbook pro without touchbar is only available in 13 inches (which is the preferred form factor of many/most but still, it's a limitation), is only available with a slower cpu/gpu/memory (no really, even its i7 option is slower than the i7 option of the touch bar model--I have no idea why you can't just get it with the same internal hardware as the touchbar model), and only has two USB-C ports as opposed to four. For reasons I do not understand at all, it's very clearly a second-class product, which is a shame because if it could be upgraded to be otherwise identical to the touch bar model I would probably get one.
It seems the other manufacturers care about this market niche even less than Apple does.
What you can't find is screen resolution, quality of the keyboard, trackpad, and hinge, battery life, and general polish ("marketing") along with the other specs, while still costing less.
Most notably, the Dell XPS 15 even puts the MBP to shame in some areas, and it basically runs linux out of the box despite what this article says. I'd get it if I wasn't happy with my current 15 inch rMBP.
I built a desktop with equivalent hardware specs to the MB Pro (2x8GB Ram, Intel i5-6600 3.30 GHZ, 750GB SSD, and a GeForce 1060 6G video card) for a little under a thousand dollars, and I dual booted it with Windows 10 and Fedora 25.
I set up Ubuntu 14 with Crouton on my Acer Chromebook 14. I basically have it in my bag all the time, and when I'm doing work on the go I'm in Ubuntu, and I'm in ChromeOS while in class/Internet surfing.
Essentially I do school work and hobby programming on my desktop, actual work on the computer in my workplace, and for everything between I have my chrome book. Between github and Dropbox (and my work's ssh server) I don't have problems syncing anything. Plus that's still cheaper than the bottom of line 13 inch MB Pro.
Back a few years ago when I bought a 15' retina pro the leap in usability was tremendous. Other laptops' screens and displays looked terribly outdated in comparison.
Give me a slower processor, even a smaller hd - but I need the super-high-res screen.
I, personally, have NO benefit in paying for such a high-res screen, because I literally cannot see the difference.
ED: Note to joshkpeterson--you are apparently hellbanned.
Maybe we shouldn't be calling it the latest and greatest? Maybe it's just the latest?
Unfortunately, there are plenty of wasteful examples too. One seems to be pure laziness. There are programs, I’m convinced, that have some kind of gigantic VM in them just to ease porting efforts; probably emulating half a damned operating system just to save somebody a few weeks of coding (heaven forbid they learn something new about each target OS instead of just trying to make a quick buck). It’s disgusting on the desktop but even worse on mobile where every short-cut by a developer literally cost users money in data, battery life, etc.
Now they're wasting their time with useless gimmicks like HoloSiri and I still can't get more than 128GB of RAM.
This doesn't hold true for the current gen, which outside of design choices, have legitimate hardware issues like poor battery life, inconsistent palm rejection on the mouse, and last gen processors.
And I honestly think Sierra is a great OS and improving with every point release. I am on the final beta for 10.12.2 and it's by far the best OS release I've used so far.
With TLP setup, I'm able to get 8-10hrs of battery life w/o issues (I've gotten up to 13hrs if all I'm doing is editing text).
According to powertop, I can get power usage to go to over 18W on full load (100% CPU/DRAM, 100% display backlight), but under my normal setup (wifi, 30% display backlight) idle power consumption is about 4.8W - my idle states never goes below C6/pc6 even running the latest 4.8 kernels. (Did the SATA power state stuff ever get fixed?)
Mind you it doesn't have a dedicated GPU, but I would avoid that like a plague on a laptop running Linux for various reasons. Intel graphics tend to just work.
As the other comment said I get about 5W draw in powertop. All I've done is install TLP as the other comment says.
Something else you can do if you'd like to get a huge boon for battery life is get a slice battery . Get both the extended and slice and you'll be able to probably go 20hr.
 - http://blog.lenovo.com/en/blog/all-day-long-all-day-strong-o...
I consider it the best laptop I ever had.
The 13" are basically an ultraportable, with 15W "U" processors and the 15" are thin and light workstation class machines - they have Intel's beefiest 45W "HQ" processors (and the option of an overpriced mid-tier mobile GPU).
Almost all of this article's recommendations are for a MBP 13 replacement, which IMO is less compelling - you can get some things that are cheaper (and w/o a soldered in SSD), but nothing that's outright better, especially when things like fit and finish and battery life are taken into account. I think the best alternative now is the new HP Spectre x360 - it has a FHD screen with comparable color gamut, comparable battery life, and you can get twice the RAM/storage as the MBP 13 while still paying 1/3 less.
If battery life (and a high-end CPU) is important to you, then your best option for a 2016 MBP 15 alternative... is probably the 2015 MBP 15. Battery life is the real razor here. The 2016 MBP 15 does 10h on wifi, 8.6h w/ h.264 playback, but a measly 0.9h under full load. The 2015 MBP 15 will get you 7.5h on wifi, 6.8h w/ h.264, but 1.75h under full load. The i7-4770HQ/i7-4870HQ/i7-4980HQs, while older, actually performs about the same/better to the new Skylake processors. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Of all the PCs out there, I'd say the XPS 15 9550 might be the closest competition - it has a great 100% sRGB / 89% Adobe RGB UHD screen option and is half the price of a similarly speced 2016 MBP 15 (although you'd probably be able to find a 2015 for around the same price) but half the battery life (just over 5 hours) when on wifi, and even close to a year in, still has some buggy firmware (screen flicker at lower levels, waking up from sleep under vibration) that sadly seems typical for PC vendors. 
IMO, the most compelling reason to get a PC laptop is if you need a beefier GPU, but you'll need to be aware that you'll be making some trade-offs (and making a time investment for swapping OS's).
(Screen gamut and battery numbers are all from Notebookcheck, who seem to do the best laptop reviews around.)
I looked at the new MBP and didn't like the price (even though the company pays) and didn't like the new touch bar, I use the function keys. I also didn't like the changes to the ports.
I'm typing this from my new Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga. So far I like it. It does have a cheaper feel but I find I type faster on this keyboard (though they seem to have copied some of Apples' bad design, IBM ThinkPads used to have nicer keyboards). The display is good. There's a built-in digitizer and stylus (which I haven't tried yet). Being able to flip the display around and stand it upside down is a big space saver where it comes to using external keyboards (which I'll probably do most of the time). It's lighter than the MBP (14" vs. 15" though). Being able to flip the display around to make a thick tablet seems like a nice feature, we'll see how much I end using it. It's a little noisier than the MBP. Battery life seems good so far. I have my HDMI port, DisplayPort, and 3 USB ports.
If the MBP was slightly cheaper, lost the touchbar, kept the HDMI port I'd probably go for it. If it could do this Yoga flip/stand that'd be a nice bonus. Page-up/down would be nice too ;)
SAMSUNG series 9. runs linux like none other and is a fantastic machine in 15 inch lighter than all the competitors.
The limitation is actually 16GB of of LPDDR3.
Intel Skylake CPUs support up to 128GB of unbuffered DDR4, depending upon chipset, and don't support LPDDR4 at all at present.
Apple chose to use the older, lower-power RAM specification and thus adopted the limitation. If they'd left the battery capacity unchanged then perhaps they could have used DDR4 but apparently their priority was reduced overall volume.
"In my search I keep coming back to the Thinkpad T460p wondering if the bulky plastic case is worth the tradeoff for the raw power. It's maddening I can't have both."
That's the thing. It's a trade off. If Apple could make a laptop with >16GB RAM AND a sleek design AND good battery life, they would do that. But they can't.
I don't understand the obsession with laptops. They have shit keyboards, small screens, are far more fragile, have less room to work (don't like having to clown-car my arms to type/use a touchpad), are generally under powered yet still exceedingly expensive. Yea, I have one at home and 2 at work - but I also have an illicit desktop at work (actually not allowed... for no reason).
The laptop's ONLY advantage is in portability, imo. But then I've never sat in a noisy coffee shop or whatever on one. I don't see the appeal in that either - I make my own coffee (roast/grind/boiled filtered water/french press) which is better quality for less money. To each their own I guess.
Off topic, I have the new mac book pro 15" model (coming from 13" macbook), and I have started to have severe wrist pain. I am not sure if it is because of the new gigantic trackpad or keyboard. I am trying everything short of returning it for now.
Any one else having this issue?
I have a problem with all trackpads, possibly just due to poor hand to eye coordination. I'm a double bassist, so maybe I'm just ham fisted. But I find that a touch screen system is so much more comfortable, that I put up with the OS and with fingerprints.
To avoid resting wrists, do you generally use a pad that supports your forearms then or just hold arms/wrists up? My pain has always been just my right wrist which I use on trackpad.
Particularly the Microsoft ergonomic ones, or the equivalent Logitech ones.
Microsoft discontinued the one I use now (coming up to about 10 years and still going strong) but this mouse from Logitech seems similar:
Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball:
It made a big difference in how (less) stiff my right hand wrist (trackpad / x230) felt in just a few days of use.
Definitely better than the trackpad or a regular mouse, IMO
I mean – the "reasoning" at the start is:
With every passing year, the latest and the greatest in
software is becoming more CPU hungry and memory intensive.
Therefore, it is important to have at least 16 GB memory
and the latest processors in my machine.
Lenovo has a long tradition of making laptops that last
for many years. Their ThinkPad flagship line of laptops
is targeted at developers and business users and has a
cult following among this user base.
Made for professionals on the go...
: Possibly. Considering the whole article boils down to nothing but price, it's surprisingly laking any information about the prices
I've been critical and bitchy about Apple of late, but they make the best laptops in the world, period. Just the touchpad alone tells the story.
People claim that they need to do all sorts of things to justify 32GB laptops or running a dozen VMs. I don't see any evidence that these people really exist in significant numbers.
I agree. Especially for programmers, I understand needing beefy specs if you have super heavy compiler workloads and/or do heavy GPU work, but how many people is that really? And wouldn't most such people prefer a desktop anyway?
I am a software engineer and my personal machine is the supposedly ultra-wimpy 12" Macbook, and I love it. It legitimately handles every workload I throw at it (including running multiple VMs) and it's so tiny and portable that it's basically a zero-cost proposition to take it everywhere I go, which is amazing. To me, sacrificing convenience for spec-sheet wankery is just silly, but I've met a lot of people who I think would probably disagree with that, like it's some badge of nerd honor to be walking around with a 5 lb brick of RAM that's rarely if ever going to be more than 1/4 utilized.
I am not super stoked about the touch bar business, though. It seems like a solution in search of a problem; the main draw of Apple laptops for me has been their refined execution and lack of gimmickry. I am glad that my machine dodged that bullet.
Well yes in terms of specs and performance, but you can't take that with you. If you do GPU work you'll really want a discrete GPU with a complete featureset. Some people were complaining about the new MacBooks having AMD cards, I presume because most DL frameworks perform best with (or in some sad cases only support) CUDA libraries.
The teeth-gnashing and stream of navel gazing blog posts that you see on many tech forums on the topic is 98% nonsense.
If you are in fact the mythical creature who needs a 32/64GB workstation on your laptop, you have a problem unless you make some very significant sacrifices. You need a "mobile workstation" from Dell/Lenovo/HP, and you're essentially giving up major aspects of portability to do so.
Because that's how long these machines have to last, realistically. And I'll bet that 16GB in three years will feel pretty cramped for a lot of higher end users.
Well, speaking at least for the Dell XPS I'm typing this on, it's not a cheap plastic housing. I'm sure there are people who would outright prefer the XPS to a Mac, if you prefer the carbon fiber over aluminum.
Because, this laptop is 4 or 5 years old (work like charm) but the problem with all Dell laptop models are, their adapter has worst quality ever. Simply, Dell adapters are not built to last long.
When Dell adapter is broken (a.k.a the chip inside doesn't send signal that it's genuine one) Dell laptop stops charging the battery, shows annoying adapter not recognized message.
And most annoyingly it drops CPU speed, I have Sandybridge 2630QM cpu i7 with 2.5 Ghz but failing adapter makes it speed 900 Mhz and it doesn't get any faster. IF you plug out the adapter then it turns back to normal but putting back on "not recognized" adapter causes the same issue.
So simply, Dell kills your laptop completely if the adapter is broken. So now I either have to buy a new laptop or find a used adapter to replace my current 4 year one.
The current T4x0, X2x0 and Px0 series Thinkpads are still top of the line machines for anyone from corporate businesspeople to kernel hackers who run BSD on their primary machine.
its hard to find under the radar but its amazing.
light as a feather, 15 inch and can run linux well and overall a fantastic machine.
The X1 is made of magnesium and carbon fiber, definitely not a cheap feeling housing.
Not Graphics Designer, Video Editors. Programmers. Specifically Programmers who uses lots ( or more then a few ) VMs.
May be as programmer, you should really care about what your programs resources usage are. The problem is i am seeing lots of bloat in Apps.
And i still dont understand why you need 4 VM in a programmer's workflow. It seems something that is deeply flawed.
What a lot of these people are complaining then, is simply price. But APPLE HAS NEVER, in the life time of the company, offered cheap or value ( Tech Spec ) for money machines. Their product with new design, whether you like it or not, has always been EXTRA expensive on the first cycle.
> May be as programmer, you should really care about what your programs resources usage are.
Maybe you shouldn't tell others how to do their jobs or how they should prioritize their work :)
But for me it's because I distribute my Rspec specs across a bunch of VM's to cut down test time.
Anyway, I think the new machines are overpriced and have poor specs and execution. You could say they added their value in other ways, but thats been on the slip for a while now too.
With an MBA, I can just pick it up, and stick ArchLinux onto it. No need to check if this particular one had the bad build quality or not.
Other companies need to start learning from this example and get their shit together. We don't want 20 product lines, which each vary every month. We want to be able to pick a laptop without a week's worth of research!
The ULV chips in the X1 are comparable to the non touchbar pro and MacBook but not the one with the touchbar with the big boy CPU.
I wound up with an Asus UX303UB - it was about $500 cheaper, much lighter, slimmer, sturdier, included a touchscreen, and had better or equal components on all counts except the discrete GPU, which is a fairly wimpy 940m but good enough for my purposes. It also works great out of the box with Mint 18 / Xenial. My only complaint is that the design doesn't emphasize replaceable parts, but the important parts still seem to be accessible and you pay a price for slimness.
Sadly, I'm not sure how much life the Sager / Clevo kind of brands have left in them, if they can't corner the 'durable and functional brick' market anymore. There are some genuinely solid prosumer offerings, these days.
"win" / alt / control / shift
what's the extra modifier on the macbook keyboard?
> have to change up all my keyboard shortcuts and/or reconfigure everything to use the windows key as super or hyper
having a single modifier dedicated to my window manager is something I _sorely_ miss, using a MBP. cmd is used for everything, I don't want to use trackpad motions to reach other desktops. Just a huge disaster.
Hammerspoon is likely going to be the only reason I ever consider buying a MBP.
I think I'll settle for the XPS 15, it has amazing design, good specs, my only issue is that the SSD models are a bit too expensive.
I think it'd be interesting to see what vim would be like if there was touch bar support (hoping iTerm will do something here eventually) and I could have my most common commands be bound to a 'key'
Pointing to 'op.lenovo.com' instead of 'shop.lenovo.com'
Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro13,3
Processor Name: Intel Core i7
Processor Speed: 2.6 GHz
Number of Processors: 1
Total Number of Cores: 4
L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB
L3 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 16 GB
Boot ROM Version: MBP133.0226.B00
SMC Version (system): 2.38f5
Shame on those manufacturers for making their products so difficult to dissect.
I agree with the sentiment of 'keeping alternatives', but given how much we use our laptops, I'm willing to pay an extra $500 for a 'known quantity' (the high end laptops by those mfgs. are generally expensive, i.e. maybe $500 cheaper than Macs, if that).
Thanks for doing this, I'm going to stick with my Mac.
Happy to consider alternatives as they come about.
Very nice machine. Used it on two coast-to-coast flights. Plenty of battery life left after the flights.
I see some reviews from people claiming it overheated and failed.
Well, if you read their reviews they actually say stuff like "what's the point of a laptop if you can't put it on your lap".
One look at the machine and you see it has a vent on the bottom and one on the side. Which means that if you block the bottom vent by having it on your lap or on a blanket while in bed, well, you are going to cook it. And cook it these people did. Gotta use your brains folks!
Even laptops without the need for cooling airflow can overheat if placed on something like a blanket or the carpet.
That said, this is a common design "feature" of many laptops. Not a deal-breaker at all. In my case I always conscious of this stuff (probably because of being an engineer) and it has never been an issue. I keep a "lap desk" just like this one by my bed and couch just for this reason:
I should have bought half a dozen of them.